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Moving in before marriage -- a good idea or not?

A few decades ago, a couple living together prior to marriage was the exception and not the norm. Today, not only do couples live together prior to marriage, some live together and never get married. Is moving in before marriage a good idea, or not?

The answer appears to be that it is not a good idea. According to a new study conducted by the University of Denver, couples who live together without being married are less happy and are more likely to end their relationship. If they do slide into an unhappy marriage, they are more likely to divorce.

The University of Denver study looked at 1,294 individuals, ages 18 to 35, who were in a romantic relationship. The ones that cohabitated as a sort of trial run had a host of negative experiences. The study showed that they were less satisfied, had more yelling or name-calling and even more physical aggression. They also reported that they felt trapped by their commitment in terms of a lease or mortgage payments, mutual bills and perhaps a pet.

On the plus side, they indicated that they were more committed to the relationship compared to the couples who were in a romantic relationship but not living together.

Of those who slid from cohabitation into marriage, the tendency was to divorce quickly.

The study also looked at a subset of the 1,294 individuals. It followed people who were living separately and then later decided to move in with their boyfriend or girlfriend. During the first 20 months they were questioned several times. Apparently their sex lives improved immediately after living together, but then that declined along with their satisfaction level and commitment.

The study had no suggestions for improvement, other than the observation that moving in together does not seem to work for everyone. One suggestion made was to test the cohabitation waters by taking an extended vacation, rather than signing a lease.

Source: msnbc, "Movin' In Causes Honey Problems," Jennifer Welsh, June 26, 2012

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